ASTANA – The one millionth tonne of cargo left Kuryk port Oct. 19 for the Azerbaijani port of Baku. The Kuryk port, launched in December, is under its second phase of construction.
“At present, Kazakh grain, coal, oil products, fertilisers and chemicals, as well as transit cargo coming from China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, are exported via the Kuryk ferry complex. From the beginning of operation to the present day, the volume of cargo has reached one million tonnes,” said port general manager Myrzabek Saktaganov at the ceremony dedicated to the milestone reached.
He noted the event marks the successful execution of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s instructions to expand Kazakhstan’s presence in the Caspian Sea and develop the country’s transport and logistics potential.
“The existing infrastructure allows reducing the travel time by sea by four hours. The time of the ferry from Baku to Kuryk is 18 hours, while the travel time to the port of Aktau is 22 hours,” he added.
Saktaganov noted the future operation of two railway berths will allow Kuryk to service five ferries a day and handle four million tonnes of cargo each year. The addition of an automobile ferry berth will expand annual transhipment volume to seven million tonnes.
The port water area has been dredged by excavating 730,000 cubic metres, according to the Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) national railway company press service. Work is underway to erect western and eastern fencing malls with reinforced concrete blocks, slabs and tetrapods, and an automobile pier which will simultaneously service two ferries is under construction.
“Port Kuryk is an important link of the Trans-Caspian International Transport route, passing through China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Achieving the number of one million tonnes of cargo is a strategically important step towards the expansion of international transport cooperation and trade ties, as well as the emergence of Kazakhstan as a transport and logistics hub between Europe and Asia,” Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies research fellow Anna Alshanskaya told The Astana Times.
She noted implementing the Kuryk ferry complex project within the Nurly Zhol state programme will help increase the export potential of Kazakh manufacturing products to European countries via Caspian ports. The time and cost of cargo transit from Kuryk to Baku with the existing maritime infrastructure has also been significantly reduced.
“Consequently, the development of the infrastructure of seaports, on the one hand, will ensure the attraction of foreign trade flows and investments at the expense of reducing transport costs; on the other, it will activate the development of strategically important areas of economic activity in the regions of Kazakhstan,” she added.